TV and Our Children Essay

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Category: Childhood

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There is a long term debate about television affecting development of children, its positive and negative impacts, and possible consequences of excessive popularity of TV among young developing personalities. Critics argue on supportive and harmful influence of television on kids, and access the topic from different perspectives: scientific, which is observing of physical changes in childs development, ethical, moral, and psychological. A number of experiments have been conducted in order to determine possible harmful effects of television on young minds, which indicated different and controversial results as for the issue. However, every study confirms that excessive time spending in front of television negatively influences various aspects of childs development.

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            The extent of influential force of television of young developing personalities can be determined with the help of reviewing and investigating the results and outcomes of different experiments conducted on this matter.

First of all, television can be determined as a representation of information in two senses, which are hearing and sight. Furthermore, television reproduces the sounds of a very poor quality to the human hearing, and the visual data contains flashing, unrealistically colored, fluorescent over-stimulating images to a human eye, which can be a threat to development and proper functioning of the sight and hearing organs (Poplawski 1998). Moreover, watching television can result in improper functioning of the vital multi-leveled sensory elements, which can deteriorate the process of childrens brains growth.

Experiments, where children are left alone with limited interaction wit other personalities, accompanied only by the information retrieved form TV screen, show that such isolation tends to generate a decrease of childs brain by approximately 25% (Healy 1990). Further experiments conducted on young developing animals, which assume confining an individual into a closed space with the ability only to observe the action of other animals, indicated the similar effect of brain decrease and its rate was proportional to the time spent in confines (Healy 1990).

A full visual ability of a child and a three-dimensional vision pertained to an adult organism continue the development process until a child becomes 4 years old. Consequently, the visual data produced by television appliances blocks the full functionality of seeing abilities and limits it to the quality reproduced by the actual screen, which represents unfocused two dimensional data composing of a limited amount of dots of light, often referred as TV resolution and refreshment rate.

The visual information appears on the screen due to the process of transmitting electrons by a cathode ray gun to fluorescent substances, phosphors. The product of phosphors is artificially pulsed light originated from its glow, and it is directly perceived by a human eye without stimulating the function neuron-endocrine system secretions (Mander 1978). The final product of a TV screen represents a fairly unfocused picture, in order to perceive which with clarity and sharp focus the eyes of a human have to strain and adjust to the lower quality visual product.

Apparently, television negatively affects the physiological development of a young human organism, as well as adult organism can experience harmful effects of excessive watching television. Among some other arguments that support the idea of harmful influence of television are moral and ethical considerations, which can be quite controversial.

As an example of these, there is an argument of negative affect provided by the information received from TV including violence, inappropriate social behavior, explicit use of language, scenes of sexual acts and sexual abuses. Furthermore, television may become a tool of promoting inadequate behavior of people, as well as stimulating different addictions both to TV and products promoted on TV.

Another recognized problem of watching too much television is very critical to young personalitys mind development. Watching television prevents children from use of their imaginative thinking, as they perceive the message exactly in form it was transmitted by author of shown information.

Neocortex, a part of the brain that stimulates the creation of images, pictures, and symbols, is partially or sometimes completely inactive while children watch TV. Imaginative thinking is a critical aspect of human development, as it is a foundation of such human characteristics as intuition, creativity, leadership, artistic features, learning abilities, and many more. Television puts a child in a position of a passive recipient of information, limiting the extent of his/her participation and the ability to influence the ongoing action.

Probably, one of the most successful definitions of harmful affects of television on young personalities is its impairment of the three main human characteristics acquired during the first three years of a childs life. During this period a child learns to talk, walk, and think. Television captures a child in the sitting position most of the time, prevents possible communication, and makes a child a passive recipient of information without providing an ability to analyze the information and think.

In contrast to all the harmful effects of television and its severity, TV is a very useful educational tool during the first years of human life. Television provides a possibility to get acquainted with objects, organisms, and phenomena that are impossible to encounter in person. Different educational programs, promoting exemplary behavior of children on TV in masterly created scenarios and plays may significantly assist parents in teaching basic society norms, values, and understandings. Informational programs providing information about natural phenomena and different living species on earth helps children to get acquainted with what they cannot meet in their environment. Also, different programs stimulate childrens positive attitude, as well as sound effects such as music generates the ideas and senses of rhythm.

In conclusion, television should not be completely removed from the childs environment in the time of his/her development. However, watching TV should be regulated on the time, purpose, and body position basis in order to maintain the impact provided by television. Short-time uses and right body positioning is essential when watching television as it prevents from many harmful physiological effects on the childs body and prevents young body muscles from lack of activity. Information provided by television should be specifically chosen to attempt to get as much of positive educational data from watching TV as possible, however, a child must still have relative freedom in choosing specific programs.

Watching TV practice should be minimized to the most extent possible, replacing it by activities, which contain more physical and intellectual involvement of a child. Examples of these can be reading books, spending time with friends, outside in nature, etc. Nevertheless, any regulation of spending time in front of television will not eliminate all harmful effects provided by this activity. The goal is to create a balance, or to outweigh the negative impacts of TV by positive contributions to childs development.


Buzzell, Keith. The Children of Cyclops: The Influence of Television Viewing on the Developing Human Brain. 1998 California: AWSNA.

Davis, Kimberly. TV and your child: how much is too much? Ebony.  Oct, 2004.

Everett, Miles. How Television Poisons Childrens Minds. California: Miles Publishing. 1997.

Healy, Jane. Endangered Minds: Why Children Dont Think and What We Can Do About It. 1990 New York: Simon and Schuster.

Mander, Jerry. Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. New York: William Morrow and Co. 1978

Poplawski, Thomas. Losing Our Senses. Renewal: A Journal for Waldorf Education. 7:2, Fall 1998.

Yarbrough, Marti. Movies, music & TV: can parents monitor their childrens entertainment? Jet. March 28, 2005.

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